In a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 10, Lung Cancer Incidence Trends Among Men and Women — United States, 2005–2009, it was stated that, “lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer (excluding skin cancer) among men and women in the United States.” The report also stated that, “80–90 percent of lung cancers are attributed to cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke.”

It was through years of investigation that researchers were able to find the links between smoking and this particularly deadly form of cancer. Once those links were discovered and properly interpreted, educational programs were established, government regulatio04-23-14-lung-cancer.gifns on tobacco products were instituted and society was able to reap the benefits of that new found knowledge.

According to CDC data published last year, from 2001-2010, the incidence and mortality rates of Lung Cancer patients steadily decreased year after year. Prevention programs can be credited with much of that success. Even though lung cancer continues to trend at the top of the charts as being a truly deadly form of cancer, victories like the one seen in the declines in diagnosis and death are to be celebrated.

Despite the positives seen in the statistics, lung cancer is still a very serious threat. The American Lung Association states on its online Lung Cancer Fact Sheet that, “approximately 399,431 Americans are living with lung cancer. During 2014, an estimated 224,210 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed.” To put that into perspective, that would be equivalent to every single person in Cumberland County already having lung cancer with every single person in Harnett and Robeson Counties soon to be diagnosed. The American Lung Association website states that once a patient is diagnosed, that “over half of the people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.”

The National Institutes for Health currently lists 5,014 ongoing clinical studies regarding lung cancer. Those trials carry the hope for a cure and more effective treatments within them. The hope that those trials can provide requires large amounts of financial support and resources in order to be successful.

The NIH currently lists lung cancer research funding as coming in fifth behind Breast, Prostate, Colo-Rectal and Brain cancer research. This funding disparity is in spite of lung cancer being responsible for more deaths, from 2001-2010, than breast and prostate cancer combined.

To help raise awareness of the needs of those who are battling lung cancer, either as a patient or researcher, the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina will hold its second annual Evening of Hope Gala at the Hope Mills Shrine Club on Saturday, May 3. The semi-formal event will consist of drinks, food, music, a silent auction and a Chinese raffle. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina and its mission, “to decrease deaths and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina.”

More information is available online at www.LungCancerInitiativeNC.org.

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